Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shaping Your Team

Whether you are a team of one or hundreds of thousands, your team has a certain shape all its own. Do you have control over how it grows? The answer is yes. However, the key to a successful team lies not in the control, but in the willingness to let the team take on its own shape without your strict direction.

By Karen Kay
Copyright (c) 2007 Karen Kay

Every team has its own shape, no matter how larger or small. Where do you fit in the team mold as the leader? Does it grow with or without your help? It can, if you don’t try to hard to control the shape of the team. Leading without control is the key to your success as a team builder.

Think of each member as contributing him or herself as a bit of raw clay. As our team starts to meld into a unit, we may tend to try to force members to follow our own ideas as to how the group should proceed. The very terms “upline”, “downline”, “sidelines” etc. can damage our self-determination as leaders to our team.

If everyone on my team becomes a leader, then I am at the absolute pinnacle of my game. How can I do that if I try to dictate everything they do? I have found that effective leadership is more in listening, and less in telling.

While one member may be making solid contributions to the shape of the team, another may simply slip through making barely a nick in the surface i.e. the whole concept flows through them with no real substance. Yet another may be that diamond in the rough. The thing is, in order for clay to mold into an attractive vessel, each of these characteristics need to be present. This keeps your team from becoming dry, or too stale, or without shape at all.

Letting yourself be open to your team is what helps the team form its vessel. This is a delicate balance between hard and soft. Raw clay is sensitive, bendable, yet strong enough to hold together.

Some “hardness”, is necessary. Confidence and a thick skin can keep a leader strong. Not allowing the team to form itself however can leave it cracked and brittle.

There is no right and wrong when helping your team to find its shape. This progression is continual. As your team vessel grows, it makes changes that may surprise you in new, even simplistic ways, because you allow members to contribute the best of themselves.

Ask your members to emulate, not imitate, what you and other leaders within the group do…. To invigorate them with your own way of bringing out their best. Be the best “you” you can be, and allow them to find the strength in their own being to get to the best contribution for the good of the team, ultimately, the betterment of themselves.

For more information on team building, please visit Karen's website at http://www.lifeteambuilders.com . There you be able to sign up for her newsletter and visit her team site for more information on team building and leadership. Posts are welcome at the lifeteambuilders forum at http://lifeteambuilders.serenityday.com

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